Getting married has had a profound effect on me, in that I realized that I have an unbelievable amount of crap to get rid of. Items that, in my bachelor life, were trinkets of my past have all of a sudden become worthless tat that need to find a new home as soon as possible.
So rather than chuck all this old stuff out, I am selling it on ebay. So far, two model Formula One cars have found new homes and five ethnic drums from various African nations have increased the bank balance a touch. A signed Scotland Rugby shirt is going on soon and a few other pieces of what I now consider rubbish are hopefully going to be offloaded onto some unsuspecting soul. And this got me thinking that one man’s junk is another mans treasure. Sure, I may think that these things are a load of rubbish, but one day in the past I didn’t, and one day in the future someone may treasure these things.
So at the New Zealand Winegrowers tasting in Edinburgh last week, I looked at the list and was thoroughly unimpressed. There were some producers of interest, but there was a lot of mass produced wine that I would never want to try. The one table I really didn’t want to try was Oyster Bay, the brand seen in every supermarket as the upmarket Kiwi wine range. But then I thought that I should give them a shot, if for no other reason that I could say that they were rubbish and when a customer comes into my shop and asks for it, I can suggest something that is better, with the authority of having actually tried the wine. After all, I may think they are rubbish, but someone, possibly the same person that bought the bongos, will actually like them. This is what I found out:
Oyster Bay Sparkling Cuvee Brut NV
Strange. A yeasty, bready aroma with some elderflower on the palate and some hints towards more Chardonnay like fruit. It actually tastes ok, but the structure is all wrong. Far too aggressive bubbles and an acid kick that starts to dissolve your tongue. For flavour, 7/10, as a sparkling wine 4/10 £12.99
Oyster Bay Sparkling Cuvee Rose NV
A blend of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir, and this has a light melon and lemon palate with some creamy fuller red berry flavours coming through. It has a slight hint at strawberries and cranberries, and like the Brut, the flavour is ok, but the acid and bubbles just spoil the wine from being a decent commercial fizz. 6.5/10 for flavour and 4/10 because of the flaws. £12.99
2010 Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc
A chalky element on the nose with gooseberry flavours, but showing a bit of complexity. The palate is quite commercial however, a lot of elderflower and some sour elements kicking in towards the steely finish. It isn’t bad, it isn’t good. It is a commercial Kiwi Sauvignon. The problem is that youcan get a cheaper commercial Kiwi Sauvignon for the same or less money from any independent. 5/10 £9.99
2010 Oyster Bay Chardonnay
It doesn’t actually smell of anything! The palate tastes of oak. That is it. Having said that, it doesn’t actually taste bad. It just doesn’t taste of Chardonnay. 4/10 for not being horrible, 0/10 for tasting like a Chardonnay.
2009 Oyster Bay Pinot Noir
Clay on the nose, in fact that is being generous. Mud on the nose. It is a complete shambles of a Pinot Noir. The palate is too juicy, confected with a mass of acid and sugar, yet it still manages to have a bitter finish. 2/10
2009 Oyster Bay Merlot
The only still wine from outside Marlborough, this Merlot is from Hawkes Bay and it should have stayed there. Like the Chardonnay, no nose, and a pretty weak palate. Dirty fruit, which then cleans up and you think this might redeem itself until the sugar kicks in. A long finish that has horrible bitter elements. 4/10